Kean Etro has found the perfect paradigm for his giddy, kinetic creativity: a kaleidoscope.
The invitation to his latest show was a pair of kaleidoscope goggles (cardboard, unfortunately), the show's backdrop was a giant revolving mandala, and—as usual—everything that happened on the catwalk was a rapid-fire riot of color, pattern, and texture.
Stripes and plaids wantonly mingled, cuffs and collars breezily clashed.
The plaid suit paired with a mosaic-patterned shirt was the classic Etro combo—a little restraint, a little excess.
But this season, Kean layered some African beading on the jacket's pocket flaps, and draped a beaded kerchief around the shoulders.
His kaleidoscope is not just colors, it's cultures, too, and that particular point seems to have cut him loose (or at least looser) from what was threatening to become something of a sartorial cliché.
Sure, there was still the immaculate old-school tailoring (a double-breasted suit in white linen? what gentleman farmer would be without one?).
And those very particular shoes still suggest an aging Italian dandy.
But some of the models kicked off their footwear and walked barefoot on the white-sand catwalk.
If that, along with some beaded elbow patches, a mandala exploding in beads, and paint all over a shirt—not to mention a shot of Kid Creole on the soundtrack—was all it took to shove Etro into Funkytown, then I doubt that Kean was complaining.
An intriguing subtext in a house as print-led as Etro might be the insidious influence of Photoshop.
Someone had clearly left the paisley cake out in the rain, because there was a new blurry softness—and a lot more collage—in the graphics.
And strike me dead if it didn't look molto fresco.